The Caribbean Islands got hit hard by hurricanes in 2017 but travel resumed in force to the tune of 13.9 million tourist visitors in 2018 and is expected to grow in 2019. Cruises to the Caribbean were especially popular, booming last year to 28.9 million travelers. The top destinations getting the most love year after year are the Bahamas, Belize, the Cayman Islands, Grenada, and Guyana.

Why? Because people can’t stay away with all the nature and beauty and relaxation to be had.

But what are the must-sees when it comes to your fabulous trip to the Caribbean, you ask?

To help, we’ve put together five of our favorite things to see and places to visit in the Caribbean. Keep reading to find out what to get on your itinerary and then start booking that trip!

1. Snorkel the Great Maya Reef or Buck Island Reef National Monument

From Costa Maya Port, put on your snorkel gear and explore one of the largest reefs in the world, teaming with fish and underwater wonders. When you’re ready to come out of the water, you can also explore Mayan temples in the Yucatan.

Another favorite for underwater majesty is on St. Croix in the U.S. Virgin Islands, the Buck Island Reef National Monument. It’s an underwater national park with a stunning coral reef ecosystem!

Head to Buck Island and the reef surrounds it. You can follow a historical underwater trail that’s suitable for snorkelers of all levels.  

2. Swim With the Stingrays in Stingray City

This wonderful destination is on Grand Cayman and in the crystal clear aquamarine Caribbean waters. Yes, you actually go in.

There’s a sand bar there that makes it possible to stand. Wild stingrays come to greet you, swim with you, and even kiss you. They’re quite friendly and will nibble treats out of your hand. 

Grand Cayman also boasts stunning Seven Mile Beach, another top pick. And we also recommend the turtle farm while you’re there, especially if you love wildlife. 

3. Kayak Mangroves in Los Haitises National Park

This natural green rainforest wonder on the Dominican Republic showcases one of the most breathtaking land formations in the Caribbean. At Bird Cay, you can also see a host of island birds, including pelicans, vultures, and American frigates. 

But what we highly recommend is that you board a kayak and paddle into San Gabriel cave and through the largest mangrove forest in the Caribbean. You’ll be one with this fascinating ecosystem teeming with bird nests, oysters, tiny crabs.

What a breathtaking experience! 

4. Dive and Snorkel at Anse Chastanet Beach

We love St. Lucia and deem it one of the best islands to visit. Why? Because it has these peaceful wonders like Anse Chastanet beach with diving and snorkeling plus warm sand lounging at its best. Something for everyone!

If you’re super active, you can also emerge from the water and think about climbing the iconic volcanic Pitons or inland rainforest. Volcanic beaches abound for sunset strolls as well.

5. Splish Splash in Dunn’s River Falls

These sparkling water beauts are in Ochos Rios, Jamaica. Water tumbles down the rocks, but if you wear the proper shoes and take heed, you can actually play in the water and stroll over the rocks right in the falls. 

So Much More to Do, So Many Caribbean Vacations to Choose From

There really are so many fantastic things to do and see in the Caribbean. We’ve just given you the tip of the iceberg (or volcano) of our top favorites here. 

If you’re new to the Caribbean, you might try a cruise or other adventure that will give you a nice sampling of these fabulous wonders. You can try Caribbean cruise adventures with Celebrity for example. Or if you like to plan yourself, really take the time to peruse and educate yourself on these and other options so you get what you want on your trip.

And by the way, it’s hard to do it all in one trip. In fact, it’s near impossible. But you can always go back!

Get Thee to the Caribbean Islands

Did you see something you love here? Any of the Caribbean Islands pop out at you? Start there. It’s hard to go wrong in the Caribbean, and many of the islands share similar wonders, like the wildlife and snorkeling and rainforest excursions.

Also, be sure to read up on the history of the Caribbean as there are many historical sites that are must-sees as well and UNESCO sites. Again, the cruises and planned adventures are a great start if you want to get your feet wet, literally and not.